A field guide to living an intentional, creative and fun life — with children.

Tag Archives: keep kids away from TV

This week we’re talking about inspiration. What drives our creativity? What speaks to us? What keeps us going? Our intention this week is to inspire ourselves, and our children to think differently, be creative and have fun.

This is the gift that keeps on giving, isn’t it? Inspiration not only gets us through a day or a week but gives us a thrill inside as we do it. Inspiration turns an ordinary day into a wowza day.

With children, especially, it can take real creativity to avoid predictable routines and think outside the box. Some parents, ahem, might find that they like it when their children stick to the exact same routine and play — because it is easy.

I find our job as parents a little harder. I want to challenge my kids to think differently and do things differently. Is that sky really blue? Is that box really square?

Really? Nothing to do but watch TV?


On Monday, I suggested that you write your Energy List. Today, I will suggest that you help your children write theirs by creating a THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX box. What motivates them, what makes them happy, what gets them laughing?

Your box or jar or drawer or envelope marked THINK OUTSIDE THE BOX will look differently than ours. We used a Chinese Take Out box with a simple sign. Much like all of our projects, there is no right way to do this and I feel that a family needs to make it their own.

The important, essential, absolute must is that the children be involved with creating the list of ideas that go inside. It’s their box of happy.

Inside this magical box is 40 ideas that our girls came up with on their own — and they also happen to truly promote thinking, learning and creativity. These ideas can be done alone, with a sibling or friend or as a family. Some, I should mention, are just plain fun. I didn’t include the more personal ones they included such as playing with very specific toys.

Next week, I will add my own ideas to their box but more on that next week! For now, here is the list my girls came up with together this past weekend — when the weather was still mostly winter unlike now when it’s mostly spring. And, just as I go through seasons in what inspires me, my children do the same. Since writing this list, I am certain they would add crawl under the forsythia bush as No. 1.

They loved sharing these ideas so much, by the way. Seeing their little minds light up with ideas makes my heart just melt.


  1. Jump on the bed

  2. Paint Your Nails/Make tattoos

  3. Play spy games

  4. Chase/Tag Outside

  5. Build a Fort

  6. Reading/Buddy Reading

  7. Dance Party

  8. Jump on Daddy

  9. Do each other’s hair

  10. Go outside

  11. Play with favorite toy

  12. Take a Walk

  13. Play games

  14. Hold a scavenger hunt

  15. Play map games

  16. Make Jewelry

  17. Play library

  18. Set up a center

  19. Play in basement

  20. Make your own pizza party

  21. Throw a treasure hunt

  22. Play veterinarian or doctor

  23. Play on the computer

  24. Play bakery

  25. Write!

  26. Set up a pretend office

  27. Play musical instruments

  28. Play pretend police officer

  29. Put on a parade

  30. Play puzzles

  31. Pretend to be a mom and baby

  32. Play school

  33. Explore nature

  34. Draw on the easel

  35. Science experiments

  36. Paint

  37. Sidewalk chalk art

  38. Arts or crafts

  39. Play dress up

  40. Play math games

And, I’m feeling all techno-fancy right now with a gift just for you. You can get a printable version of this list simply by clicking HERE! Please share in the comments any “Thinking Outside the Box” ideas your children mention. Don’t forget to share posts on inspiring play or creativity this Friday in the Kids Co-Op Link Up Party right here.

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